Every month Charles Fleming, the author of the popular Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles and Secret Walks: A Walking Guide to the Hidden Trails of Los Angeles hosts a walk somewhere in Los Angeles. Some walks are in the adjacent mountains of the Sierra Madre or on the meandering coastline, while others are urban explorations.
This month’s walk was an equestrian themed urban exploration of sorts. It started at the LA Live Steamers in Griffith Park, took us under a highway and over a river on horse trails. It was an interesting walk in that we were crossing very popular areas that we all drive past all of the time, but never take the time to actually explore.
In general, the walks range anywhere from 2 -3.5 miles and usually last about an hour and a half. Some are shorter, but are more strenuous based on stair climbs, while others like the equestrian walk are flat, but long. There is no need to feel rushed as there are all levels of walkers in attendance.
Speaking of the group, you are probably wondering who actually goes on these walks. In many cases, several hundred followers! This month there were probably 75-100. Not bad for a unusually hot November morning! The age of the group ranges from families with small children, teenagers, adults all the way up to seniors. Oh and four legged friends too! It’s an eclectic bunch that adds to the fun.
Charles doesn’t stop too often to provide information about the area, but if you are lucky enough to be waking with him you will learn a ton. However, he will stop occasionally to let everyone catch up and will provide some interesting facts about the area. Everyone goes at their own pace which is helpful for those of us with small children who do not feel like we have to rush to keep up.
There is need to sign up in advance. Head over to Facebook to like the Secret Stairs page. Charles announces each month’s walk on his page about a week out. Walks are usually scheduled for the first or second Sunday of the month. Walks are posted to begin at 9 a.m., however Charles gives a little breathing room for stragglers rolling in a few minutes late. All walks are free, but if you want to purchase one of Charles’s books, bring $15 in cash. Remember to dress appropriately for the weather, bring hats, sunscreen, snacks and plenty of water.
Can’t wait for his next walk? You are in luck. Check out some of Charles’s published walks on your own. He has several books, an app and even more walks listed on his website with detailed instructions. Additionally, Charles has a regular column in the LA Times with some great walks mapped out.
Participating in these walks is a great way to get to know off the beaten path areas of the city and get outdoors. Even better that they are fun, family friendly events that everyone will enjoy. Hope to see you at next month’s walk!
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